In a nutshell: Nvidia’s controversial hash rate limiter for the RTX 3060 was thought to be unhackable but now less than three weeks after launch, we’re hearing otherwise. The source behind the software needed to unleash the card’s full mining potential? Nvidia itself.
Nvidia in an attempt to address retail shortages of its latest RTX 3000 series graphics cards last month took the bold and controversial step of artificially limiting the effectiveness of the GeForce RTX 3060 for cryptocurrency mining.
For those who haven’t been keeping up, a wide variety of electronic goods including processors, graphics card and video game consoles have been in short supply since before the holidays in part due to continued fallout from the pandemic. With graphics cards in particular, it’s not only gamers that want them.
It just so happens that Nvidia’s latest generation of GPUs are also appealing to cryptocurrency enthusiasts mining Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. According to one mining calculator, a single RTX 3070 card can generate a profit of more than $180 per month mining ETH.
Ahead of its February 25 launch, Nvidia announced that the RTX 3060 would utilize a software driver designed to detect mining and limit its effectiveness by around 50 percent.
Hi Ryan. It’s not just a driver thing. There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter.
— Bryan Del Rizzo (@bdelrizzo) February 19, 2021
VideoCardz.com is reporting that two publications, ComputerBase and HardwareLuxx, have noted that the Ethereum hash rate limiter can be rendered ineffective by using the GeForce 470.05 beta driver, which is available to developers under the Windows Insider Program.
Some reports suggested you might also need a hacked BIOS to disable the limiter but according to the latest reports, only the beta driver is needed.